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Laws considered to enforce deduction of union dues from salaries

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE government is aiming to amend the country’s labour laws in a bid to force the Melià resort’s hand after the hotel stopped deducting union dues from the salaries of its employees, Labour Minister Shane Gibson said yesterday.

After the Supreme Court ruled that Melià was not obligated to charge gratuities on its all-inclusive visitor packages because the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) had failed to negotiate a new industrial agreement, Melià also decided in August to stop deducting union dues from its employees.

Mr Gibson has described this move as “union busting”.

He added: “A couple weeks ago I spoke with Melià and I told them how concerned I was about how they attempted to stop deduction of union dues. This is something that has been happening for years. This is something that didn’t start with them. It didn’t start when they got here. It started long before they came to the Bahamas.

“The government of The Bahamas is therefore very concerned that you would have an employer come to the Bahamas, attempting to destroy and bust the union in the matter in which they are doing it. We’ve already spoken with persons in the labour movement and we’ve already consulted with the Attorney General’s Office. We’re looking at what some of our colleagues in the Caribbean have done and have been consulting with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) because we want to amend the labour laws. Since they don’t seem willing to come to the table and sit down and have this matter resolved then it seems we have no choice but to amend the law to make sure something like this never happens again.”

The government hopes to amend the laws to mandate that employers honour the terms of expired agreements until new agreements are ratified.

Mr Gibson said he hopes to bring such legislation to Parliament “as quick as possible”.

“It’s very difficult right now for the movement,” he added.

“I’m a former trade leader so I sympathise with them. I know what they are going through. I tell them this is the opportunity for them to get it right, get it now. At the end of the day, workers of the country are what make the country. (You) can’t have labour without capital and you can’t have capital without labour.”

Comments

USAhelp 6 years, 10 months ago

So why is this bad the workers can pay on this bill themselves when paid. It should not be a law but how else will the unions get money. It is a bargaining issue between union members an company not government

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